Social Exclusion in Deeply Divided Societies: A Socioeconomic Rights-approach to Transitional Justice

Read the whole piece in E-International Relations

This paper claims that socioeconomic rights must be part of social reconstruction in deeply divided societies because the lack thereof lies at the core of the conflicts we aim to transform. The essay is divided in four sections. Firstly, it discusses the role of poverty and inequality in fostering violence and mistrust within societies. Secondly, the article suggests that the frame ‘economic and social rights’ is more suitable than other approaches covered in literature (such as ‘human needs’ or ‘human security’). Third, it looks at three case studies where socioeconomic rights have been officially recognized as constitutive elements of transitional justice (Guatemala, South Africa and Northern Ireland) and critically examines some important empirical limitations of the inclusion of economic and social rights in the equation of conflict resolution. The article concludes with an appeal to overcome strictly legalistic and individualistic approaches to economic and social rights as a condition to get the most out of human rights in a period of transition.

Written in March 2011

Koldo Casla



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